- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The traditions that mark the start of the Supreme Court’s fall session on the first Monday in October continued Tuesday with the nine justices posing for their group portrait.

The events continue Sunday with the celebration of the Red Mass at the historic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

The Mass is a request to God, under the power of the Holy Spirit, for guidance and blessing for the justices as they make their decisions. The tradition dates back centuries to Rome, Paris and London and got its name from the color of the vestments worn by the celebrants and the color of fire, a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The 56th annual Mass will be celebrated by Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl with the assistance of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and the newest U.S. cardinal.

The cathedral gained worldwide attention when a requiem Mass was celebrated there during the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at the cathedral during his 1979 visit to Washington.

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